The Haval brand, which launched in Australian in early 2016, has moved swiftly to establish a sound dealer network and resolve issues around the previous importation of Great Wall utilities from China. Haval is the premium SUV arm of Great Wall, and all Haval dealers in Australia will now also look after Great Wall customers.
Haval Australia pushed hard to get the H6 medium-size SUV here as soon as possible, and with good reason. It’s without question Havel’s most competitive model, being equipped and priced well enough to target established rivals in one of the most hotly contested segments of the market.
H6 lines up against well-respected two-wheel-drive SUVs such as Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail, and in value for money acquits itself well in this company. In style and presentation, the H6 looks sharp, both inside and out, comes with an attractive list of standard features and is being launched at introductory drive-away prices until the end of 2016 only.
There are two models, with no add-on options, starting at $29,990 for the Premium, which features 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, rear-view camera and blind spot monitoring. Moving up to the LUX for $33,990 brings heated seating front and rear, a large panoramic glass sunroof, 19-inch alloys, adaptive xenon headlamps and an eight-way powered driver’s seat.
In the cabin we also noted ISOFIX child seat mounting with top tethers easily reached on the seat back, good head and leg room all round, adjustable rear-seat squab angle, rear air-conditioning vents and easy access with short, wide-opening doors. Clearly lacking is any advanced audio or communication systems and satellite navigation.
Safety-wise, the H6 has the obligatory electronic stability control and ABS, plus six airbags including head-protecting curtain bags covering both front and rear occupants, but as yet it has not been crash-tested for ANCAP.
Both models are powered by a direct-injection 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, coupled to a six-speed Getrag dual-clutch automatic transmission. With more power and torque than the segment’s biggest-selling models, performance was never found wanting and the auto proved quick and responsive to changing road or traffic conditions. This engine however requires premium 95-RON petrol.
The wet-clutch dual-clutch transmission, which comes with standard paddle shifts, is notably smooth but also delivers decisive gear selection, and in general the H6 has a good dynamic feel on the road. Standard driveline features include hill-start assist and hill-descent control. Ride quality is also well sorted and our only niggles related to the heavy self-centring effect of the electric power steering on twisting rural roads and the over-sensitive automatic hazard warning when cornering and braking.
The biggest issue for any new brand is confidence, so while the H6 feels solid and is clearly well finished, Haval provides a reassuring five-year warranty, five-year roadside assistance and fixed-price servicing for five years.
The H6 just might be the vehicle that sees the Australian consumer start to take Chinese brands seriously. It’s got the basics right, such as pricing, equipment and performance, so the major Japanese SUVs no longer have this competitive medium-size SUV segment to themselves.
Price: $33,990 drive-away (until 31 Dec). Premium paint – no extra cost. Range $29,990-$33,990 drive-away.
Safety: ESC. ABS. 6 airbags. Reversing camera. Front and rear parking sensors. Blind-spot monitoring. ISOFIX fittings. Auto lights/wipers. Auto-levelling xenon headlights. Daytime running lights. Front fog lights. Hill-start assist. Hill-descent control. Tyre-pressure monitoring.
Connectivity: 8” touch-screen. Bluetooth. CD and USB slots.
Vehicle features: Dual-zone climate-control with rear-seat outlet. Faux leather seats, heated front and rear. Powered front seats. Sunroof. Alarm. Roof rails.
Driver features: Fully-adjustable steering column. Keyless entry/start. Steering-wheel paddles. Auto-folding side mirrors.
Drivetrain: 2.0-litre, 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. Front-wheel-drive. 6spd auto. 145kW@ 5200rpm, 315Nm@2000rpm.
Fuel: 9.8L/100km (govt test). 58L tank. 95-RON petrol.
Wheels: 19” alloy, 225/55 R19 tyres. Space-saver spare. Towing limits: 1500kg braked trailer, 150kg towball limit. Environment: 225g/km CO2.
Service/repairs 12-month/10,000km fixed-price services. 5yr/100,000km warranty.
RACV RATING 3.5 stars
Written by Ernest Litera
1 December 2016